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Self Regulated Learner Essay

“Self-regulation is not a mental ability or an academic performance skill; rather it is the self-directive process by which learners transform their mental abilities into academic skills.” (p. 65) That definition is offered by Barry Zimmerman, one of the foremost researchers on self-regulated learning. It appears in a succinct five-page article that offers a very readable overview of research in this area.

Three research findings are highlighted. First, “self-regulation of learning involves more than detailed knowledge of a skill; it involves the self-awareness, self-motivation, and behavioral skill to implement that knowledge appropriately.” (p. 66)

The point here is that large differences have been observed between the way novices and experts view their learning. Novices rely on feedback from others; they compare their performances with those of others. They fail to set goals or monitor their learning. They frequently attribute failure to deficiencies that can’t be remedied. “I’m just not smart enough.” Expert learners manage their learning at every stage. They recognize when they have failed but then focus on how they can fix what went wrong.

Second, self-regulation is not a trait that some students have and others do not. Rather, “it involves the selective use of specific processes that must be personally adapted to each learning task.” (p. 66) It’s about setting goals, selecting strategies to attain those goals, monitoring progress, restructuring if the goals are not being met, using time efficiently, self-evaluating the methods selected, and adapting future methods based on what was learned this time through.

Finally, there is a relationship between self-regulation and “perceived efficacy and intrinsic interest.” (p. 66) Learners have to believe they can learn, whatever the task before them, and they need to be motivated. “With such diverse skills as chess, sports, and music, the quantity of an individual’s studying and practicing is a strong predictor of his or her level of expertise.” (p. 66) One notable finding from research: the actual process of self-regulating can be a source of motivation, even for those tasks that may not be motivating themselves.

The article identifies three times when self-regulation aids the learning process. First, before the learning task is tackled, the learner should analyze the task, set goals, and develop a plan of approach. Obviously, beliefs about the self as a learner influence decisions made at this stage.

Second, learners need to self-regulate as they do the learning (or perform the task). They need to deploy specific learning strategies or methods and then observe how well those strategies and methods are working.

Finally, they need to self-reflect after completion of the learning task. This involves self-evaluation and “causal attribution,” which refers to beliefs about what caused the outcome. If a student has done poorly on a math exam and attributes the score to an inability to learn math, that attribution damages motivation, whereas attributing the score to misuse of particular equations means there’s a chance the student can fix the problem. Reflection after the fact also includes whether the learner is satisfied with the performance—that too impacts subsequent motivation.

Despite the power of self-regulation to motivate learners and to increase their success, “few teachers effectively prepare students to learn on their own. Students are seldom given a choice regarding academic tasks to pursue, methods for carrying out complex assignments, or study partners. Few teachers encourage students to establish specific goals for their academic work or estimate their competence on new tasks.” (p. 69) Zimmerman goes on to point out that most teachers don’t give students opportunities to self-assess their work and most do not explore student beliefs about themselves as learners.

Reference: Zimmerman, B.J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory Into Practice, 41 (2), 64-70.

Reprinted from The Teaching Professor, May 2009.

Posted in Teaching and Learning
Tagged with assessing student learning, learning strategies, motivating students, novice learners, providing assessment feedback, self-assessment, self-regulated learners, student learning outcomes, study skills

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Self-regulated learning (SRL) is a social-cognitive model that conceptualizes effective learning as a cyclical process of evaluating cognitive and motivational processes during academic tasks.” (Ness and Middleton, 2011, p. 268). The three-phase cycle includes planning, performance, and self-evaluation. In SRL, learning is guided by metacognition, strategic action, and motivation to learn. “Self-regulated” describes a process of taking control of and evaluating one’s own learning and behavior. SRL emphasizes autonomy and control by the individual who monitors, directs, and regulates their actions toward goals of information acquisition, expanding knowledge, and self-improvement. Self-regulated learners are aware of their academic…show more content…

Self-regulated learning as a strategy is shown to be promising for improving academic performance for these students. There are multiple ways to use SRL in the classroom depending on individual student needs. Self-regulated learning strategies that can be used in the classroom include goal-setting, planning, self-motivation, attention control, flexible use of strategies, self-monitoring, help-seeking, and self-evaluation.
Goal-Setting
In the classroom, goals may be as simple as earning a good grade on an exam, or as detailed as gaining a broad understanding of a topic. Encouraging students to set short-term goals for their learning can be an effective way to help students track their progress.
Planning
Planning helps a student self-regulate their learning prior to engaging in learning tasks and occurs in three stages: setting a goal for a learning task, establishing strategies for achieving the goal, and determining how much time and resources will be needed to achieve the goal. Goal-setting and planning go hand-in-hand and help students establish well thought out goals and strategies to be successful.
Self-Motivation
Self-motivation occurs when a student independently uses one or more strategies to keep on-track toward a learning goal. It is important to the process of self-regulation because it requires students to assume control over their

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